I am facing the following problem:

We provide multiple financial services to all sort of profiles (retail & business).

Some profiles (reached a certain age and risky profiles) are not allowed to start a particular flow. The first type won't change over time but the second type CAN change.

How do you explain it to these users in a meaningful understanding way?

  • Just hide the flow?
  • Show a message immediately before starting the flow or on the first screen?
  • Make a separate sorry page?

2 Answers 2


I see three main approaches:

  1. Hide the flow.
  2. Display "service not available" page on selecting the flow.
  3. Disable the flow with some indication (tooltip, information ("i") icon).

There are advantages and disadvantages to all approaches.

The main drawback to the first is that if someone comes to the site expecting to find the flow but can't see it then they could either:

  1. Simply leave the site never to come back.
  2. Raise a support issue saying they can't find the flow.

By showing the flow people will know they are in the right place, but by allowing them to select it and then show an "error" message you could end up in the same situation as above.

Disabling the flow would seem to be the best approach - especially if you have sufficient help on the page to indicate why the flow is disabled.

None of the above is a replacement for doing some testing of the various options.

  • 1
    Good answer. If you advertise a list of services but then hide some of those services from certain people without explanation, you're really inviting lots of enquiries from confused customers.
    – Matt Obee
    Oct 26, 2012 at 9:15
  • #1 if the users don't know of the option, else #3. With a kind and easily findable explanation of the reason why, possible suggesting an alternate way.
    – Juan Lanus
    Oct 27, 2012 at 17:55

+1 to ChrisF's answer, but my comments became to long to write there:

You should make use of either ChrisF's approaches #1 (hide the flow) or #3 (disable the flow with some indication, i.e. tootip), but it depends on what your users expect to see. If you don't they would miss the flow that they don't have access to or if they never knew it existed, then hiding the option is fine. However, like ChrisF said, if they are expecting to see the option, then they will be very confused, frustrated, or lost if they can't find it.

When implementing either case, you should still create an error page for "Service not available"/"You do not have permission to access this page" (approach #2) in case they manage to get to the flow anyway. For example, if there is a bug in the page that lists the accessible flows, or if this is a site where they could type in a url manually to reach the page for the disabled/hidden flow.

  • Yes to @sacohe, only that instead of "you have no permission ..." I'd say "why we regret so much not being able to offer you <whatever>".
    – Juan Lanus
    Oct 27, 2012 at 17:53

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